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DoCoMo wins spam-mail fight

DoCoMo's 37 million i-mode users are regularly flooded with pornography and dating emails

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TOKYO, Japan (Reuters) -- NTT DoCoMo Corp, Japan's dominant mobile phone carrier, won a victory against junk "spam'' e-mail on Tuesday when a Tokyo court ordered compensation for the costs of sending unsolicited messages over its wireless Internet service.

In the first court decision against Japan's spam mailers, who regularly flood wireless e-mail networks with randomly addressed advertisements for pornography or dating services, a Tokyo company was ordered to pay DoCoMo 6.57 million yen ($54,420).

Anti-spam legislation implemented last July requires spam mail be labelled as "unsolicited advertising'' in the subject line. DoCoMo offers a service to let users reject such messages, but much still manages to get through.

More than 80 percent of the 950 million messages sent to DoCoMo's mobile e-mail service each day is unsolicited, a spokesman said, although much of that is filtered out before it reaches users.

DoCoMo said it spent more than four million yen returning e-mails sent to its network by the plaintiff and addressed to phone numbers that did not exist.

The remainder of the compensation is to cover consulting and legal fees connected with the case.

Users of DoCoMo's popular "i-mode'' wireless Internet service, with more than 37 million subscribers, must pay for their e-mails, leaving DoCoMo holding the bill for network costs if a randomly generated address on a message does not exist.

Copyright 2003 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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